Common Problems With Laptops & Some Solutions – Liquid Spills, Cooling, Power & LCD Display Screen
Liquid Spills on Laptop
I have repaired many Laptops exposed to accidental liquid spills. This is a recoverable condition in most cases. It is most important to respond to the cleaning up process as soon as possible (before corrosion or internal soakage occur)! Liquid intrusion can cause the following types of laptop damage:
- Short circuit due to conductive nature of wet liquid (problem may clear as liquid dries)
- Short circuit due to dried liquid residue
- Corrosion occurs (particularly volatile with some acidic soft drinks – Coke)
- Electronic components damaged by above short circuits
Possible Solution: Immediately when a spill occurs, turn off the laptop, invert the laptop and leave the unit upside down (drainage) for at least 20-30 minutes. Then, remove any attached leads, remove the power unit and battery, and allow the unit to air-dry overnight.
To remove any liquid residual: Have someone remove the keyboard assembly and perform additional cleaning. It may help to use cotton buds and distilled water to remove any contamination. Where corrosive side effects may be suspected (with coke), gently rub any suspect areas with a cotton bud dampened with CRC or WD-40. Dry the treated areas so that only Sinple a light film of the WD-40 anti-corrosive solution remains. While the keyboard is removed, use a bright light and magnifying lens to inspect areas where the liquid made contact.
Laptop randomly turns off
This is often due to:
- AC power adaptor sensing an overload of power drain
- Overheating processor due to a build of internal dust (clogged fan)
- AC power adaptor not able to sustain normal power needs (faulty power adaptor)
- Battery overheating, due to internal battery fault, or charging levels
- Intermittent short circuit or open connection (check condition of power leads)
On older Laptops, the most common reason is poor cooling. Try going somewhere air-conditioned and see if that helps. Inspect the areas near the internal cooling fan; see if there is a build up of dust fibres. Easy way to check this; with the unit running, feel the flow of air from the cooling outlet(s) – is the airflow very low? If yes, and the unit is at normal operation temperature, this may indicate the internal cooling system is partially clogged.
Troubleshoot Laptop LCD Video Display problems
Here are some tips and tricks for troubleshooting and fixing laptop video problems. Video issues are very common within portable computers and with the following tips you should be able to detect and eliminate basic laptop video problems.
Laptop LCD screen has a faint image or is very dark
Look closely at the laptops LCD screen, and see if you can see a very faint image. If you can then it is possible that the Laptop’s LCD lid close switch is stuck in the closed position. In this mode the backlight stays off, even with the LCD lid open. This is to conserve power when the laptop is ON with the LID closed. Check the LCD lid close switch. It is a small plastic pin located close to the back LCD hinges. Try tapping the lid switch a few times to see if you can turn on the screen backlight. If that does not help, then I would suggest to replace the FL inverter board.
Laptop LCD screen is solid white colour or garbled
Connect an external computer monitor to the laptop. If the external monitor display is fine, then you have a problem with the Laptop LCD screen or the LCD cable connection. If the external monitor image is the same as on the Laptop LCD, then it is likely to be a faulty integrated onboard video, this means replacing the motherboard of the Laptop.
A typical Laptop LCD display assembly
This is a simplified explanation of the basic components that are involved on a Laptop LCD video display problem:
- LCD Connector: Video data is sent from the motherboard through to the LCD screen. A video cable also feeds voltage to the FL inverter board on the LCD panel
- FL inverter PCB: This section converts the low voltage DC source to high voltage AC, as required to energise the backlight bulb. If the FL inverter PCB is faulty, the LCD screen will show a very dim image on the Laptop display screen
- CCFL (backlight bulb): When the backlight bulb is working, you can see the image on the LCD screen. With some Laptops, the backlight bulb is a part of the LCD screen assembly and needs to be replaced with a complete LCD screen assembly. It requires a specialized Laptop repair workshop to replace the backlight bulb
- Laptop Lid close switch: This switch is a small switch (mechanical or magnetic) that is located close to the rear display hinges. Most laptops will either hibernate or operate in standby mode when the LCD is closed. This is achieved by interfacing with the Laptop’s BIOS power management software. In turn this is linked to the Windows operating system
Laptop is slow and continually shows Internet popup’s
The Laptop is very likely infected with spyware. Spyware is software that hides on your computer and attempts to collect information about your activity on the internet. Spyware is sometimes transferred to your computer when you download ‘unknown’ free software or when you link to free music Internet programs (KaZaA, Limewire, BearShare, etc). The best method to remove and further prevent spyware is to use Spybot. Please read my Spyware Software Help Page.
Laptop is frozen, no response to keyboard or mouse, cannot Shutdown
With most Laptops I have seen that this will happen from time to time! The easy method to solve this problem is:
- Disconnect the laptop power cord
- Remove the battery from the laptop
- Wait a short while (10 seconds)
- Replace the Laptop battery into the unit
- Reconnect the Laptop Power cord
- Turn the Laptop on
The Laptop will start normally and be fully operational. If you were working on a Microsoft Word or Excel document at the time of the problem, then you may find that the data has been auto-recovered for you. In this case, you will be automatically prompted to view the last document you worked on when you open the Microsoft program.